A dashing Brit meets a charming American and they form an instant connection. But are they meant to be together? Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts explored this in the 1999 rom-com classic, “Notting Hill”. In the new Netflix’s rom-com, “Love. Wedding. Repeat” Sam Claflin and Olivia Munn assume those attractive roles.
But this isn’t your typical entry in the genre. You just won’t know it for awhile.
“Love. Wedding. Repeat.” is based on the 2012 French film, “Plan de Table”. An actress assumes the (uncredited) role of narrator in this new version. She introduces us to Jack (Claflin) and Dina (Munn). The pair first met by chance three years ago in Italy — but then went their separate ways. They reunite in Italy at the wedding of Jack’s sister, Hayley. Will the stars align for Jack & Dina this time?
The first two-thirds of “Love. Wedding. Repeat” is comprised of goofy, slapstick shenanigans, clumsy situations and awful, overwritten scatalogical dialogue. Family members, friends and even a wedding crasher are either quirky, odd, rude, clueless or all of the above. This hodgepodge strategy worked beautifully for writer/director Dean Craig with his script for the 2010 comedy “Death at a Funeral”. However, a variety of cringe-worthy scenes in “L.W.R” will tempt you to simply hit STOP.
But here’s why you shouldn’t: At the 1-hour mark comes a sequence that’s unveils the film’s true hook. And it’s a good one — interesting and clever (though I wish it was longer and came MUCH sooner). That scene leads into a satisfying third act which features real humor, heart and some legitimate payoffs.
Claflin and Munn are simply fantastic, especially when together. You’ll find yourself begging for more of them and less of everyone else. These characters and actors deserve their own calmer, better written/directed rom-com. They can be the new Grant/Roberts. Hayley (Eleanor Tomlinson) puts up with a lot of drama on her wedding day (some of it her own doing). But she’s actually one of the more composed, confident brides we’ve seen in one of these films, which is refreshing. The rest of the cast gamey battles through thankless roles.
As is often the case at wedding receptions, if you can tolerate the early awkward, uncomfortable period, “Love. Wedding. Repeat” will, ultimately, be worth your time. And it’s the closest thing to a major social gathering you’ll get to attend for the next several months.
LCJ GRADE: C+
Running Time: 100 min.